Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More Tutorials for Graduate Students

Last week I taught a graduate student workshop for some physical science and sports science graduate students.  After updating a PE for Grad Students site, I created a Jing tutorial, explaining what changes I had made that may be helpful for them.  Unfortunately, it exceeded my goal of less than three minutes (it is 3:47 long).

On that site is a link to a tutorial a graduate student in the College of Education's Instructional Design program helped me create using Camtasia.  This tutorial is the first I have created using this powerful software.  Honestly, I only recorded the tutorial, and the graduate student edited the content.  Last week I uploaded it to TeacherTube with the title: Research Success for Graduate Students. Again, this tutorial is a bit lengthy.  It seems that students prefer short, brief tutorials, so who know how many will even look at it.  Hopefully, the conscientious graduate students will watch and benefit from viewing it.

Are screencasts worth doing?  Have you benefited from viewing screencasts?  Do you create screencasts yourself?  Please share what you do and why.

I still need to read the article "Do Screencasts Really Work?"  If you have read this article, please comment on it.  Do you agree?


Dana said...

Good post! I think screencasts are worth doing, although they are not a panacea. They are one form of support and learning opportunity that should stand alongside others, not necessarily replace them.

I create lots of tutorials (some for students and some for faculty) using Captivate, but I take a very DIY/casual approach to doing them. I don't script what I'm saying and I do it in 1 or 2 takes and talk while I'm doing the screencast. I also do them mostly for showing a process or how to do something concrete, rather that focus on more abstract concepts (which it takes much more effort to make effective in this medium).

This way, when they eventually need replacing (they all do, usually sooner rather than later), the limited time investment I put into them is worth it.

Do I wish I had the technical and time resources to do high quality, well-planned and visually designed, interactive tutorials? Yes! But I don't, and truthfully, I have yet to be convinced those efforts have a better long-term ROI than what I'm doing now.

Spencer said...


This makes a lot of sense. We need to provide support in other areas, such as at the reference desk, in the classroom, and through our library websites. The trouble, like you say, is managing time and understanding how to help the largest number of people in the best way. Not always easy.

Admittedly, I also wish I had more time and resources to produce the high-quality resources. We are quite under-staffed.

I have advertised tutorials through the University's bulletin board system as well as our Library News blog, so I hope they are reaching more and more people.

Spencer said...

See our page with tutorials here: http://www.isu.edu/library/research/tutorials.shtml.